Roll Up, Roll Up

November 27th, 2017

TheBeatlesMagicalMysteryTouralbumcover.jpg Last week, my income tax website reminded me that it was the 50th anniversary of the release of the Magical Mystery Tour. They seemed to have jumped the gun a bit, as the American LP was released 50 years ago today, on 27 November 1967, and the UK Double EP 11 days later. But as the only American “reconfiguration” that is now part of official Beatles canon, it is an anniversary worth celebrating.

The American album includes the remainder of the Beatles official 1967 output not on Sgt. Pepper including the six songs from the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack and five A and B sides from the three singles that year (I Am The Walrus from the soundtrack served as the B side of Hello Goodbye). And while it is definitely a lesser of Sgt. Pepper in terms of broader cultural impact, there are definitely some arguments that it is at least a musical equal. Few will argue the merits of Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane and I Am The Walrus, but even the “filler” such as Baby You’re A Rich Man and Blue Jay Way can be re-assessed as the some of most underrated Beatles songs.

A Somewhat Surrealistic Time

November 20th, 2017

Flag of Zimbabwe

As Zimbabwe dares to dream of change, one of the most evil men ever has passed away -sadly Charles Manson has a Beach Boys connection in terms of his relationship with Dennis Wilson. We also say goodbye to Della Reese and Jana Novotna, while David Cassidy (for whom Brian Wilson wrote Cruise To Harlem) is critically ill.

50 Years Again

November 18th, 2017


Buffalo Springfield are a legendary group -not just for the musicians that came out of the group, but also for their music itself. This is best exemplified by their second album which celebrates is 50th today. While it is a cohesive musical statement, the individual members were already going in their own directions. Niel Young rocks out on Mr Soul, while Expecting To Fly and Broken Arrow are orchestral early Young classics- Broken Arrow’s disillusionment still resonating 50 years later. Stephen Stills contributions are more conventional rock, with Bluebird and Rock And Roll Woman regarded as classics, while Richard Furay contributes his first songs – Sad Memory is a beautiful ballad while A Child’s Claim To Fame is another beacon on the road to county rock. This may not be everyone’s first answer to classic records of 1967, but it makes most best albums lists,   and 50 years later, warrants repeat listens.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLVI: Let It Shine

November 16th, 2017

Image result for let it shine brian wilson

We’re looking at some “hidden beauties” highlighted on the new Brian Wilson compilation, and we’re going to back to Brian’s eponymous first solo album from 1988. Let It Shine , a collaboration with Jeff Lynne who was working at a similar time on the classic first Wilbury album. It is a stellar song, combining Lynne’s slickness with a soaring melody that became something of a fan favorite, and was even performed live at some of Brian’s shows after returning to touring.

The 2018 Tour

November 11th, 2017

We knew that Brian had said that 2017 wouldn’t be the end of the touring road (just the Pet Sounds one) but now we have confirmation of some 2018 dates, with more presumably to follow. The road warrior continues!

Edit: Looks like these are Pet Sounds dates. So even the Pet Sounds touring isn’t over

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLV: Gettin’ In Over My Head

November 6th, 2017

Image result for brian wilson gettin in over my head

Gettin’ Over My Head isn’t at the top of Brian Wilson fans and critics favorites, but for this writer, there are some great songs on the record. Not least of all is the title track, an elegant and emotional ballad which also dates from the Paley sessions and was reworked for this album.

Changing 50 Years On

November 2nd, 2017

Image result for forever changes Since 1967 predates the internet, let alone Facebook, the exact release date of Forever Changes seems to have been lost in the sands of time. But evidence seems to point to early November 1967, so this does seem an appropriate time to celebrate 50 years of one of the best records ever released. Love’s masterpiece may not have burned up the charts, but in 2017 the record that focused on the flipside of the hippie dream seems more poignant than ever.

Indeed, at a time that many of the 1967 hippies may well have voted for greater division, the sense of paranoia and doom exhibited on tracks like The Red Telephone and A House Is Not A Motel seem a bit more relevant than many sentiments on Sergeant Pepper or wearing flowers in your hair. Not to mention the utter brilliance of Alone Again Or, Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale and You Set The Scene. \

There was a lot of great music in 1967, much of which remains fresh in 2017. But Forever Changes may well the album that resonates most fifty years on.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLIV: Some Sweet Day

October 28th, 2017

Image result for "brian wilson" "some sweet day"

The other “new” track from Playback isn’t that new- Some Sweet Day dates back from the early/mid 90s sessions with Andy Paley, and is well over twenty years ago. Like Run James Run , it has a retro feel to the classic girls group sound, but with it’s great instrumental break, and memorable melody, it is still a great addition to the “official” Brian Wilson canon, and a clear inductee to the Hidden Beauties pantheon.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLIII: Run James Run

October 21st, 2017








The one truly new song on Brian’s new solo anthology is Run James Run -and it’s a good one. Longtime fans will be familiar with the title as a working title for the Pet Sounds title track, but otherwise it is all new. Well at least new in the sense of a recent recording and new tune, but the music is brilliantly retro, hearkening back to the best of Brian’s early surf and car songs.

With some of the best guitar work on a recent Brian Wilson/Beach Boys song, lovely harmonies and a driving beat, it’s almost as if the last five decades haven’t happened. Run James Run is certainly up there with Brian’s recent best work. You can read more about it here.

23 Songs For Today

October 15th, 2017

1) Autumn Afternoon   – Association
2) Run James Run    -Brian Wilson
3) Rock ‘N’ Roll with Me -David Bowie
4)Just Like Always   -Glen Campbell
5)It Won’t Bring Her Back    -Glen Campbell
6) When Eddie Comes Home    -Jimmy Webb
7) Mia & Sebastian’s Theme (Late For the Date)    -Justin Hurwitz
8) It’s Over / Engagement Party    -Justin Hurwitz
9) Silver Lining   -Kacey Musgraves
10) Merry Go ‘Round    -Kacey Musgraves
11) Another Day of Sun    -La La Land Cast
12) (Hurts Like a) Bee Sting   -Lucky Soul
13) Locked Out   -Lucky Soul
14)Strut!    -Lucky Soul
15) America    -Prefab Sprout
16) City of Stars    -Ryan Gosling
17) London Like a Distant Sun    -Saint Etienne
18) Whyteleafe    -Saint Etienne
19) What Kind of World    -Saint Etienne
20) Sweet Arcadia    -Saint Etienne
21) Lonely Days  – The Beach Boys
22) Always You   – The Sundowners
23) Beach Boys    -Weezer